New book on VALI!

“The Australian artist, Vali Myers, was a legend in her own time. Première danseuse of the Melbourne Modern Ballet at seventeen, she left home and spent ten years in Paris, living much of the time on the streets but never ceasing to draw. Ed van der Elsken famously put her on the cover of his Love on the Left Bank, that manifesto of Paris in the 1950’s and her work was praised by George Plimpton in his Paris Review. Then, saying goodbye to all that, she spent forty years in semi-seclusion in a wild canyon in Italy, where she continued producing her minute, mystical, and passionate drawings. Tough as nails, she fought the local authorities who wanted to introduce loggers into the valley, after a long struggle succeeding in having it designated an Environmental Oasis. Finally, Vali returned triumphant to her native Melbourne, where she was recognized as an artist sui generis.

“In this brilliant memoir by her friend and lover, Gianni Menichetti, her art, times, and personality come through unforgettably. For thirty years, Gianni Menichetti, the author of this memoir, lived with Vali Myers in the wild canyon of ‘Il Porto’—first as lover and willing slave, ultimately as friend, confidant, and protector.”

“You saw in her the personalization of something torn and loose and deep down primitive in all of us.” —George Plimpton, Paris Review

“Vali’s dogs, Vali’s trees, Vali’s donkey, the birds, the flowers, the caves, the spiders of Vali. We have seen for the first time the old skeleton of nature.” —Bernardo Bertolucci, film-maker, Last Tango in Paris, Stealing Beauty

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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2022: I publish a weeklyish email newsletter called LANDLINE = https://jaybabcock.substack.com Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca., where I practiced with Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison and was involved in various pro-ecology and social justice activist activities.

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